New Mexico Lobo Women’s Basketball – Tuesday In The Pit
Who/When: 7 p.m. (MT), Tuesday – Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers at New Mexico Lobos
On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend & Nikki Heckroth
GoLobos.com: Live Stats, Live Video Stream, Complete Stats, Quotes, LoboTV, Game Story
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It is a game Coach Yvonne Sanchez calls a “bounce-back game,” not suggesting that Wisconsin-Milwaukee goes down as a guaranteed win game Tuesday night in The Pit.
What it really means is that the Panthers represent a realistic chance for the Lobos to bounce back to the winning side of the scoreboard. The Panthers are good. They have four players averaging in double figures with two scoring more than 17 points per game.
But the Panthers aren’t Texas Tech, Texas or Colorado. Or at least the Lobos hope they aren’t.
“It’s a good opponent for us,” said Sanchez of the Panthers of the Horizon League. “It’s our bounce-back game (a chance) to take care of the little things we didn’t do against Colorado.”
The Lobos are coming off an 85-53 loss to Colorado that was preceded by 67-52 loss to Texas and a 64-56 loss at Texas Tech. That stretch handed New Mexico a 1-3 record to take at the 1-2 Panthers.
You have to favor the Lobos in The Pit, but the Panthers – so far – have done something that the Lobos haven’t quite been able to master. The Panthers are hitting above 40 percent from the field.
Senior guard Angela Rodriguez averages 16.7 points hitting at a 43.6 percentage. Avyanna Young, a 6-1 forward, boosts a 17.3 average and hits at a 58.3 clip. Bre’Zall Warren averaged 10 points with a 43.5 percentage. Christina Wakeman shoots 62.5 percent but is only 5-8 from the field. It’s possible the Panthers would like to see Wakeman toss up a few more shots.
Kimee Chandler averages 12.0 points and five of the Panthers’ top seven scorers shoot 40 percent or better. The Lobos have one player – Antiesha Brown at 50 percent – shooting better than 33 percent from the floor.
Sanchez sees the need for this to change.
“I think it’s coming,” Sanchez said of her offense. “The last three games were tough. It was a tough stretch.
“I truly believe Deeva (Vaughn) will be a double-figure scorer for us. (Sara Halasz) is playing hard. She’s playing aggressive. She’s getting in there. That’s what I expect from her. I expect double figures from her every game.”
Halasz had 16 points, six boards and a single turnover in the loss to Colorado. UNM was without two posts: Ebony Walker out for the season with an Achilles injury and Khadijah Shumpert was attending a family funeral. Sanchez needs some scoring from her post position. Shumpert, the starter, averages 3.3 points and shoot .308 from the floor.
UNM shoot 35 percent from the floor as a team, but Brown usually is the big gun with her 17.0 average. The Panthers need to figure out a way to slow down this talented Lobo. Brown is 29-of-58 from the floor and 6-of-15 from 3-point range. UNM shoots 24 percent from long range, but Brown (40 percent) is the only UNM starter shooting above .235 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The Panthers’ offense has been good enough to win games, but they have other problems that need to be fixed: rebounding, defense and taking care of the ball. Milwaukee is coming off a 76-64 win over North Dakota State and has lost to Western Illinois and Wisconsin.
The Panthers got 43 points and 20 boards from Young and Green in the win over North Dakota State. Rodriguez has 17 assists for Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but also has 14 turnovers.
The Lobos would like to duplicate the shooting start they had against Colorado when they shot 44 percent in the first half. UNM shot 16.7 percent in the first half at Texas Tech and 17.9 percent in the first 20 minutes vs. Texas.